How did you get into conference speaking?
Completely by accident. Someone pushed me into it, pretty much against my wishes. I was terrified at first, but have grown to really enjoy it. This, of course, means that everyone else should and could speak at conferences too. :-)
How do you prepare for your talks? Do you have any specific rituals you go through before stepping in front of an audience?
I'm a scripter and practicer as opposed to an, err, wing-it-er. Once I sort out the point of the talk and put together a slide deck, I figure out what I plan to say on every slide, and between which words I plan to change slides, and then I rehearse until I feel confident that I can appear unrehearsed. My rule-of-thumb is that I have to give the entire completed talk to my empty office 10 times before I'm ready go on stage.
I once read a recommendation that said a speaker should multiply the number of folks in the audience by their hourly rate in order to decide how much effort should be put into a talk. By that math, the bar for being prepared feels very high.
Ah! That is so nice to hear. I've met a lot of wing-it-ers recently and it's honestly made me feel quite self conscious about how much I need to rehearse.
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